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The US State Department will advise against travel to 80% of countries

With much of the world still struggling to contain and control the spread of COVID-19, the US Department of State is strongly advising that Americans reconsider their travel abroad.

The Department of State announced that it will begin updating its travel advisories this week, which will see roughly 80% of countries’ advisories at Level 4: Do Not Travel.

Last year, on August 6, the department announced it was lifting its Global Level 4 Health Advisory, which advised citizens against all international travel. That was originally put in place on March 19, 2020 in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the pandemic continues a year later, more people are once again beginning to travel. But with infection rates high in many places around the world, the department notes that travelers still face risks associated with COVID-19.

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The changes will be made in order to “better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) science-based Travel Health Notices that outline current issues affecting travelers’ health,” according to a statement. The advisories will take into account factors like the availability of testing and the current travel restrictions for US travelers.

This may help to clear up confusion for travelers, as the advice will more closely align with the CDC’s Travel Health Notices. For example, the CDC notes that travelers should avoid all travel to the Bahamas, and even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants. However, the State Department website only currently lists the Bahamas at Level 3: Reconsider Travel.

Earlier in April, the CDC announced new guidelines that would lessen restrictions on domestic travel for vaccinated Americans. The new public health recommendations were based on the fact that fully vaccinated people are less likely to contract and spread the virus, and can therefore travel domestically without the need to get tested before or after a trip, or self-quarantine afterwards.

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